Research shows that the anticancer drug vandetanib—sold under the brand name Caprelsa—might cause potentially fatal heart-related side effects.
What Is Caprelsa? When Is It Prescribed?
The British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca plc developed Caprelsa, and IPR Pharmaceuticals, an AstraZeneca subsidiary, distributes it in 100 to 300 mg tablets. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Caprelsa in April 2011 to treat symptomatic and progressive medullary thyroid cancer. Due to its potential for causing fatal side effects, however, Caprelsa is only available through a restricted-distribution program.
In cancer cells, enzymes called “tyrosine kinases” can promote the cancer’s spread. Caprelsa is a “tyrosine kinase inhibitor” that interferes with tyrosine kinases’ ability to help thyroid cancer grow.
Caprelsa Might Cause Heart-Related Side Effects
Caprelsa’s label contains a “black box” warning—the FDA’s most serious type of alert—for a condition called “QT Prolongation.” The QT interval is a segment of the human heartbeat as defined in terms of electrical pulses. QT interval prolongation can indicate a type of irregular heartbeat called “Torsades de Pointes,” a potentially fatal condition. As a type of ventricular tachycardia (accelerated heartbeat), Torsades de Pointes’ symptoms include:
- ventricular fibrillation (the uncoordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle of the heart’s ventricles)
- cardiac arrest
- sudden death
Caprelsa’s label also includes an entry for Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (a form of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis [TEN]), a horrific skin condition in which cell death causes the outer layer of skin cells (the epidermis) to separate from the inner layer (dermis). Although it first appears as an upper respiratory tract infection, patients’ skin turns red, fills with fluid, and then peels off. The disease has a high mortality rate; 30-40 percent of victims die due to bacterial or fungal infections.
Other Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
Caprelsa is also associated with the following adverse reactions:
- decreased appetite
- abdominal pain
- upper respiratory tract infection (including interstitial lung disease)
RLG’s Lawyers Will Make Things Easier
The process of demanding compensation for the harm you’ve suffered can be complicated, even if it doesn’t seem fair that you should have to go through even more trouble to be made whole again. The lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group believe that obtaining legal satisfaction from those who harmed you shouldn’t require more hardship. That’s why we do everything we can to streamline the process, and we will file a Caprelsa lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.
If you have taken Caprelsa and believe it harmed you, contact RLG today.